Becoming Mama Verde

I am many things in this world: wife, friend, sister, auntie, world traveler, philanthropist and volunteer.  I enjoy a few glasses of wine over dinner, neat shots of whiskey for special occasions and the very regular joint of my most favorite medicine:  marijuana.  For the first 34 years of my life, I was satisfied with life, happy with my surroundings and feeling blessed with all that the universe has offered me.  Life was rich.

With so many children in my life, I felt that my ‘mama need’ was satiated.  I could easily see one of my nieces or nephews whenever I pleased.  I could get down on the floor with them, sing, laugh, play, be silly and at the end of it all, return them to their respective parents and head home for my own time.  It seemed like a perfect role for me.

As I embraced my 35th year of life, something inside me, deep in my core, began to change.  I began seeing babies in parks, while shopping and at friends’ homes and I felt a tingling inside.  It was uncontrollable.  The faces of babies all around me were stuck in my memory.  I dreamt of babies constantly and in every dream I was saving them from dangerous situations or evil people “What is wrong with me?”  I wondered.

By age 35, the shift within had fully developed.  I was convinced that I had to be a mother.  My husband, who had wanted children all along, was happy that I finally decided to carry his son or daughter and so the long road began for us to have our own baby.  I may have decreased my intake of alcohol and marijuana, but not fully.  I just planned to quit when I was truly pregnant.  Conceiving later in life wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be.  I became pregnant quite quickly but had a hard time staying pregnant.  I had two miscarriages.  The first one was over in a blink of an eye, it seems.  I was pregnant one day and then a week later, a very heavy period told me otherwise.

After my miscarriage, my husband and I flew to Australia to visit family.  The culture there is so much more relaxed and we enjoyed late nights with friends, sleeping in late, drinking, dancing and enjoying our time away from reality.  What a wonderful surprise to find out that I became pregnant again!  My thoughts of excitement quickly became worrisome as I knew I had been drinking, smoking and not being 100% healthy.  My OB/GYN told me not to worry as the body can be quite resilient and that if I cleaned up now, in my first trimester, all would work out.  So I did it!  I cleaned up and started down the new path of motherhood.  A few weeks later, my body showed that it was not ready to carry a child and I had my second miscarriage.  The second time around was much more painful both physically and emotionally.  After the procedure to remove the embryo, my hormones dropped and the pain was so intense that I stayed in bed for days crying and wondering if I would ever become a mother.  I turned back to my beloved medicine for comfort.  With every puff, I felt the numbness protect me from the pain.

One month later, we became pregnant again!  This time, I decided to clean up and stay clean.  Sobriety was wonderful for me.  My body and pregnancy thrived and while I missed my medicine, I knew it was nearby and eventually I could enjoy it again.  As the third trimester approached, I began to miss weed and would occasionally take a toke or two if my husband was smoking.  Soon, it became more regular again.  I was overcome with guilt and worry.  Am I harming my baby?

I began looking for answers online and found conflicting information.  In some researched instances, babies who were born to mothers who smoked marijuana regularly were born prematurely and underweight.  Other cases showed that babies in similar environments were born healthy, happy and in terms of emotional and social development later in life, thrived and even showed greater achievements as young children.  I prayed that my baby would not be negatively impacted by my lifestyle.

Our beautiful son, Samuel, was born almost one month early.  He was small, but not alarmingly underweight.  He had a horrible bout of jaundice that we just couldn’t kick, but besides that he was and still is our perfect angel.  I continued to smoke occasionally and breast fed him for over a year.  Samuel showed no signs of any developmental delays as an infant or as a young toddler.  Now, he is over a year old, very social, extremely happy and truly the light of my life.  Recently, at a play date, Samuel walked up to his little friend who was crying and put his forehead to his friend’s as a sign of comfort and understanding.  Another mama friend commented “Samuel shows such great empathy” What an amazing compliment!  It was definitely a moment of feeling immense pride for my son and true joy in my heart.  Suddenly, I was no longer letting the negative worries of marijuana overcome me.

When we decide to bring another baby into this world, will I still smoke marijuana?  Occasionally.  Will I worry as much time around?  Probably not.  Do I still consider myself a loving, committed and thoughtful mother?  Absolutely!  Throughout this transformation into motherhood, I have not only embraced my own lifestyle choices, but also have released self-judgment to find a place of love, devotion and peace as a butterfly growing from a cocoon and spreading her wings to the world.  I am a Green Mama.  I am Mama Verde.

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